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Cloned cow meat in UK food chain

4th August 2010

The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that meat from a cow with a cloned parent was sold to customers last year.

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The FSA said that two bulls from a cloned embryo from America were delivered in Scotland.

The farmer in charge of the farm where the bulls were born said to the BBC that the meat had authorisation to become part of the food chain.

Steven Innes, who owns Newmeadow Farm with his father, stated that the two bulls were used to father 100 cows and they both had been granted passports by the government.

He added that the passports meant meat was allowed to go into the food chain.

The first bull was killed in July 2009 and its meat was put on sale to consumers. The second bull was killed on 29 July 2010 but the meat was prevented from being put on sale.

Tim Smith from the FSA told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that although they had a "first-class cattle tracing scheme" he was unaware of the number of cloned embryos that had come into the UK.

"It's a bit like the police being there and being an efficient service and us expecting no crime. It's inevitable that however good the system is, it ultimately relies on the honesty of the people who are participating in the chain."

"So it means that every farmer, every breeder, every processor has to come clean and tell us what it is they're actually doing. It's impossible for us to stand by each animal and watch what happens to it throughout its life cycle", he added.

 

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